Seattle Seahawks tight end Greg Olsen has lined up a pretty sweet post-playing career.
Whenever he chooses to stop playing football, Olsen is reportedly set to join Fox’s No. 2 broadcasting team for NFL games, according to the New York Post. That would pair the three-time Pro Bowler in the booth with play-by-play man Kevin Burkhardt, one of the network’s top announcers.
Olsen had considered retiring and joining Fox this past winter, before the Seahawks swooped in with a one-year deal worth up to $7 million. The Buffalo Bills and Washington Redskins both pursued Olsen in free agency.
The allure to play with Russell Wilson for a contender — along with a nice salary for an aged vet with some recent injuries — made it too hard for Olsen to say no. And in case he gets the itch to play beyond the 2020 season, Fox reportedly won’t stop pursuing Olsen for a job.
While Fox waits for Olsen, Daryl “Moose” Johnson will team up with Burkhardt on the No. 2 broadcast team this coming season. That slot opened when Charles Davis left the network for CBS, where he’ll team up with Ian Eagle with that network’s No. 2 duo (behind Jim Nantz and Tony Romo).
Romo has now paved the way for several former players to enter the broadcasting ranks in the NFL and skip the internship in the mailroom, so to speak. There’s even an agreement between NBC and Drew Brees to join forces in a similar fashion after his playing days are over.
Respect for Olsen’s ability, even if he’s unproven
The other sign that Fox respects Olsen’s ability to successfully make the jump to the broadcast ranks is that they’re not putting him in a lesser booth while he learns the trade.
Jumping up to the No. 2 team, only behind the network’s No. 1 pairing of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman, shows that Fox believes Olsen can make a Romo-like adjustment to his new role.
Olsen will be calling marquee games on a weekly basis after hanging up his cleats, albeit without the glare of primetime games putting him too much in the crosshairs for criticism. He’s also a good fit for Fox in that the broadcast company is the rights holder to NFC games, which is the conference in which Olsen has spent his entire playing career.
Of course, the last tight end thrust into that high-profile of a an announcing gig, however, wasn’t a success. Jason Witten abruptly retired from the Dallas Cowboys and spent a fateful year in ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” booth that had some viewers panning the trio of Joe Tessitore, Witten and Booger McFarland.
Witten is now back playing in the NFL, moving from the Dallas Cowboys last season to sign a deal with the Las Vegas Raiders.
Will Olsen be the next Romo ... or Witten? That answer likely lies somewhere in between. In some of his work with NFL Network during combine drills a few years ago, it was clear that Olsen was able to speak clearly, directly and do so off-the-cuff with a comfortable, easy style; in short, he looked like a natural.
Will he be as colorful and naturally charismatic as Romo? Maybe not. But Fox is counting on him to be one of the network’s most important broadcasters — whenever Olsen decides he’s done with playing, likely after this season.
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